An Interview with BAC: How Much He Loves Super Bowl Parties

BAC® sat down with Shelley Feist, Executive Director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, to talk about his idea of “Super Bowl fun”.

Q: BAC, lots of people are getting together over food to watch the Super Bowl. What do you love most about Super Bowl parties?
A: I love that there is so much chaos in the kitchen that
day — I love it! After all, if you are distracted and you have 10 friends each bringing a food dish to a party, that creates some real opportunities for me. I also love that the game lasts a long time — usually 3 ½ hours. That’s great too!

Q: What do you mean?
A: Well, first of all, if you have 10 friends bringing 10 dishes, do you think each one of them was careful in washing their hands with soap and water before preparing that food? No! Or that those platters of deli meats and veggies have been kept at 40 °F for the past few hours? No way! The more food, the more chaos… the better for me! These situations create a real opportunity for me.

Q: Opportunity?
A: Put it this way, if you are going to skip washing your hands before you handle food, I am going to be there. And I’ll be ready to jump off your hands to every food item you touch. I also love a nice, warm room temperature and plenty of time to sit around on your food. I take advantage of these opportunities. I show up and multiply!

Q: You don’t sound like a very good Super Bowl party guest. Why would anyone invite you?
A: What? I show up uninvited all the time! And it’s easy to do. You can’t believe how many people provide the perfect conditions for me to show up and to multiply! I had the greatest time at Thanksgiving when the Smith family didn’t use a food thermometer, and they only cooked their stuffing to 130 °F! That was great!

Q: Images on the web show you as green and kind of creepy. But sitting here with you, you don’t appear that way at all. Why don’t you tell the readers what you look like?
A: I’m illustrated as short, green and aggressive. In reality I’m invisible — you can’t even see me. But yeah, I’m aggressive. When I’m out at room temperature, you can be sure I’ll be aggressive and start showing up all over in your food. That’s what I’m all about. 

BAC® is aggressive, loves to multiply at room temperature, and is ready to show up uninvited to your Super Bowl party! To learn how to keep BAC® out of your football gathering plans, check out www.fightbac.org.

Have a winning Super Bowl party from your friends at the Partnership for Food Safety Education!

More resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/features/superbowlplaybook/index.html

Five Food Safety Tips for Holiday Buffets

By Shawnte Loeri, Communications Associate, Partnership for Food Safety Education

The holiday season reigns in terms of total grocery sales in the United States.* This abundance of food going home with people indicates a busy December of food preparation and entertaining.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education offers five key ways to keep unwanted germs away from your holiday buffet:

Keep a Clean Scene

Before cooking and after handling raw ingredients such as meat, poultry, eggs and flour, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. It sounds simple but recent USDA research found that 97% of people are failing to wash their hands properly. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food. Thisshort, animated videoshows how to “Keep a Clean Scene” at home when preparing meals.

Thaw foods safely

Thaw frozen ingredients in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. For safety, never thaw food at room temperature!

Keep hot foods hot

Place hot foods in chafing dishes, crock pots or warming trays at 140 °F or warmer. Bacteria can multiple rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature and ensure food is being held at 140 °F or higher on your buffet.

Keep cold foods cold

During your event, arrange and serve perishable foods on several small platters. Put one platter on the buffet table and store the other platters in the fridge. Swap them out every two hours. Nest platters in bowls of ice on the buffet table. 

Handle leftovers safely

Divide large portions of leftovers like beef, turkey, gravy, dressing, stews and casseroles into smaller portions in shallow containers. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours. A constant home refrigerator temp. of 40 °F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure your refrigerator temperature is at 40 °F or below. Eat leftovers within 3-4 days. 

To help you Fight BAC!® (harmful bacteria) this holiday season, we’ve created a  free flyer on food safety for parties and buffets and an infographic on frozen foods 

Follow the Partnership for Food Safety Education on Facebook at @FightBAC and on Twitter at @FightBAC. More food safety resources are available free at StoryofYourDinner.org. 

The Story of Your Dinner campaign is supported by Cargill, Costco Wholesale and the Frozen Food FoundationSee our video in English and Spanish at StoryofYourDinner.org. 

*November and December reign in terms of total grocery sales with $52.5 billion an $52.7 billion in sales respectively according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Shawnte Loeri is the Communications Associate with the Partnership for Food Safety Education. She can be reached at (202) 220-0705 or sloeri@fightbac.org.

The High Season of Cookie Dough Defiance

By Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education

I have several friends who devote an entire December weekend to baking holiday cookies to give as gifts. (Lucky me, I am often a recipient). It is only this season that it occurs to me I should be checking in with them to see if they are “cookie dough defiant”.

I borrow the phrase “cookie dough defiant” from Sharon Davis of the Home Baking Association who presented on PFSE’s recent webinar about the safety of raw flour and shell eggs and home baking.

Sharon has put a phrase to something we see a lot — people who just do not want to accept that eating raw cookie dough can make themselves or their kids sick, and then making a defiant stand to continue to sample dough and batter despite the risk.

In reaction to a 2018 PFSE Facebook post, Susan said,” But the kids love it!” and “I’m not sure we will stop, but thanks for the warning.”

Cookie dough defiance has been promoted by celebrities, too. Ellen DeGeneres (@theellenshow) posted to Instagram, “Has anyone ever really gotten Salmonella from eating raw cookie dough or are they just trying to stop me from living my life?” with a cameo photo of Kermit the Frog.

Yes, Ellen. Someone has gotten Salmonellosis from eating raw cookie dough.

And, as our webinar highlights, E. coli: O157:H7 is a potentially even more dangerous pathogen that has been linked to raw flour.

We asked a live poll question on our webinar – and with more than 100 health and food safety educators responding, we found that even among knowledgeable health and food safety educators, 43% admitted to their cookie dough defiance.

We’ll be in touch again on this topic. For now, in this holiday season, consider how we can all model behavior — especially for kids — that a baked cookie is worth the wait and the season so much sweeter when we are healthy.

Related consumer messages:

  • Do not eat or play with any raw cookie dough or any other raw dough or batter product made with flour that is intended to be cooked or baked.
  • Follow package directions on baking mixes and other flour-containing products for proper cooking temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products containing flour.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that might be present from spreading.

Check out the recorded webinar here. CEUs are available for the recorded webinar.

Summary: Outbreaks inked to raw flour (source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Other helpful links:

Shelley Feist is the Executive Director with the Partnership for Food Safety Education. She can be reached at (202) 220-0651 or sfeist@fightbac.org.

BAC Fighter Dianna Bowen boosts 8th grade science curriculum with the core four

Seven years ago extension agent Dianna Bowen with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, was approached by a local science teacher who wanted to incorporate food safety into the classroom science curriculum.

Dianna used Fight BAC materials to develop a program that uses science experiments to teach the core four practices of food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill. Students who participate in the program make hypotheses and test theories while learning home food safety skills.

To teach the “clean” step, Glo Germ powder is used to demonstrate how easily germs spread. To explore cross-contamination, a sponge with colored water is used to represent raw chicken. During the experiment students see the “raw juice” transfer to other surfaces and learn the importance of separation. To demonstrate cooking food to the safe internal temperature using a thermometer, students compare food that has been cooked properly with food that has not. For the final experiment students use thermometers to compare how quickly water cools in shallow and deep containers and learn about the danger zone.

Since she began the program, Dianna has reached more than 1,100 eighth grade students! A more basic version of the program has been taught to fifth graders, and a modified version of the program has been used in Family and Consumer Science classes as well as with adult audiences.

Dianna presented a poster about her program at the October 2019 NEAFCS conference in Hershey, PA.

Thank you to Dianna and the BAC Fighter community for continuing to teach the importance of food safety to students and consumers!

Dianna Bowen is a Family and Consumer Sciences agent with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. She can be reached at (501) 676-3124 or dbowen@uaex.edu.

Put a Damper on this “Camper”

Submitted by Julia Scott

Campylobacter jejuni is a common foodborne germ that causes illness in 1.3 million people each year in the United States.* During the summer, take action to reduce the risk of food poisoning at your cookout or picnic!

Here’s why your family should avoid this summer “camp”. The symptoms of Campylobacter jejuni include abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever. These symptoms can last 7 to 10 days! Even more seriously, C. jejuni can be potentially deadly for the elderly, children under age 5, and people whose immune systems are weakened due to illness or medical treatment.

These easy food safety steps will reduce your risk of food poisoning from Campylobacter so you can have a great summer cookout:

NEW! Safe Recipe Style Guide
We’ve got delicious recipes that include food safety prompts based on the Safe Recipe Style Guide. The Style Guide is a new tool for recipe developers that helps them build basic safe food handling prompts into recipes.

Check out these safe recipes for Grilled Basil Chicken, Miso-Marinated Short Ribs, and Cantaloupe Gazpacho. Download more recipes that include food safety steps to stay healthy this summer!

Learn more from the CDC about the risks of Campylobacter.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Julia Scott is studying Health Science as an undergraduate at Boston University. She is an intern with PFSE during Summer 2019.